Perfection. Something I've long realised I'll never attain. Oh I seek it alright, but as a bloke I know once said to me, "I'm not a perfectionist, I'm an idealist. My ideal is to be a perfectionist." But in all seriousness, I actually enjoy the challenge and like the fact that there is an honesty in my work. It's not perfect and I don't pretend it to be or claim any world's best schooling to justify it or my existence. I'm happy producing the best pieces I can and letting my work speak for itself.
Christopher Schwarz produces a fine blog and his Lost Art Press publishing house is a breath of fresh air in a somewhat machine focused ( read -polluted ) woodworking environment. Chris will often just post a memorable quote or a passage from a favourite book, but always something that resonates with us all. His last was no exception ( find it here - http://blog.lostartpress.com/2012/06/22/october-1951/ ) So much so that I thought I might reciprocate with one of my favourites. A personal note from Master wood carver, Frederick Wilbur in his book, Carving Architectural Detail In Wood. This one really speaks to me and I think it fits me to a tee. I hope you get something from it too.
"I am sympathetic to imperfection - it has value - and see myself always as an apprentice to my work. I believe in the integrity of being self taught. Of course the artisan is always striving for excellence of expression, but endemic to the nature of craftsmanship is the unsatisfactoriness of the creative act, which must always include on some level experiment or chance. Each piece of handwork embodies a story, a tale of process. The unique quality of handwork makes possible the complex sense of exhilaration and pride in achievement that all art strives to communicate. There should be no attempt to imitate the work accomplished by machine or computer - though I hesitate to romanticise working with a once living material. Things of quality take time - not only in the sense of a long-enduring tradition, but also in the simple sense that handwork includes the idea of mindfulness."